Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?

From: James Kass (
Date: Thu May 20 2004 - 23:06:13 CDT

  • Next message: Dean Snyder: "Re: Response to Everson Phoenician and why June 7?"

    Dean Snyder wrote,

    > Your seven-repeated "reasonable" analysis of this engineering issue does
    > not even mention once, much less address, the PROBLEMS that will be
    > caused by encoding this diascript.

    There seems to be a fear among those opposed to the Phoenician proposal
    that many people will welcome a separate encoding for the script and
    begin to use it. These people will create new data from old material and
    convert existing data to the Phoenician encoding.

    Doesn't the idea that so many people will embrace a new Phoenician range
    imply that it's the right thing to do?

    > I know Phoenician has been sexy, provocative, glamorous, and enthralling
    > to historians of the alphabet for centuries - it was a part of the Greek
    > cultural psyche that they got their letters from the Phoenicians; and
    > many modern books have just repeated such ancient dicta uncritically. But
    > among serious scholars of West Semitic scripts there are standing
    > controversies about just what were, in fact, the exact sources for the
    > Archaic Greek alphabets. No one doubts, to my knowledge, that the sources
    > were Levantine, but there are conflicting signs, for example, in the
    > shapes of individual letters, the letter names, and the multiple
    > directions of writing, that point to sources other than what we call
    > "Phoenician" today. The issue is an open area of discussion among
    > knowledgeable historians of the alphabet.

    Many people believe that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by the Essenes,
    but there are some who believe otherwise. Discussion among knowledgeable
    historians of the alphabet as to its origins may be lively and entertaining,
    but, its identity as a separate script doesn't depend on whether the
    Phoenicians created the alphabet or just traded for it.

    > I think the unspoken issues here are based more on culture, more on
    > intellectual chauvinism, and maybe even on religion, than on encoding
    > issues per se.

    How about that? We agree on something...

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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